There are numerous experienced Christian ministers in each denomination who have come through the mill of church politics, and in my view, may well be ideal to give an annual seminar to their respective denominational theological students in this damaging area of church life.
Recently, a senior church statesman candidly told me that to even suggest it, is like 'whistling in the wind'. Perhaps it would admit there are those within their own systems who engage in such activities.
Nonetheless, I believe that this is too important a subject to be ignored and young seminarians (theological students) should at least be given the rudiments of protecting themselves as part of their training. To illustrate the devious nature of any damaging politics, he cites none other than Winston Churchill.
The ABC Summer Radio National's James Carlton interviewed the retiring Clerk of the Senate Ian Harris (21 December 2009) who told the story of a fresh 'House of Commons' parliamentarian in the 1930's who seated himself beside the seasoned Winston Churchill. This young man said to Churchill that he couldn't wait to get into 'the enemy, those opposite' (The Parliamentary Opposition).
Churchill's response was, "Dear boy, they are not your enemy, it is those sitting beside you."
With this in mind, I cite the following example with permission. The Late Reverend Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes A.C. MLA in his book 'Leaving a Legacy' reveals how a fellow Uniting Church Minister laid a charge against him and how, in effect, to defend himself within the 'structures' he had to 'philosophically' do triple mid-air somersaults and a tap dance, to protect his name and ministry.
Gordon Moyes was the highest profile Evangelical and Non-Conformist Christian Minister in Australia and at the time of this incident, he was Superintendent of Wesley Mission in Sydney. Unfortunately, there was no love lost between the 'theological positions' of Dr Moyes and the Uniting Church hierarchy.
I was honoured to be mentored for over 30 years by the late Dr Moyes. I was then in a position to return some of that consideration, and has suggested to Gordon Moyes that he might consider assisting by becoming an occasional 'Visiting Fellow' on 'Church Politics' to Australian Theological Seminaries.
I have been published widely on this subject and in my view, my experience of 'church politics' served to strengthen myself, which sometimes is the effect of those in similar situations.
An era of productive ministry
That era in Christian Ministry was said to be his 'most productive to date'. The Lord has seen fit to further honour and show remarkable blessing to his and his wife Delma's ministry. Strange as it may be, this too is often the situation in Christian ministry.
For some years now, I've been keen to see those theological students with 'rose coloured glasses' gain some insights as to what they may need to confront in their own future ministries.
Seminary students should be advised of the importance of seeking counsel when they feel overwhelmed by events out of their control, or simply weary of helping cope with the problems of others. 'Caring for the carers' is provided by people such as the Reverend Dr Rowland Croucher from John Mark Ministries based in Melbourne, who ministers to wounded ministers and pastors, and sadly on the most part 'after the event'.
One suggestion is an annual seminar on this subject. There are those in each denomination who have come through the mill of church politics who may well be ideal to serve as consultants in this area of church life.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children